The Paper Power Project – A Challenge To Engineering And Architecture Students

Published by Afterschool.my on Jan 20, 2023, 09:30 am

KUALA LUMPUR – 18 January 2023 – Ramboll, a global architecture, engineering, and consulting firm is inviting engineering and architecture students from tertiary institutions in Malaysia to participate in The Paper Power Project challenge. 

The Paper Power Project competition, conducted in collaboration with Dr Kody Kato, challenges students to reimagine how large modern structures can be built with sustainable materials to promote design excellence amongst our youth. Participants, from any recognised Malaysian institution of higher learning, must submit an original design using paper of any form to span a 2.5 metre column-free space, without the use of any adhesive material. 

“Our key interest with The Paper Power Project is in the use of sustainable materials such as paper because their impact to the environment is much less than concrete and steel,” said Dr Kody Kato of the Office of Design Evolution (ODE). “Alternative materials also result in other interesting spatial experiences, like our Beyond Surface project has shown.” In 2018 Dr Kody received a London Design Award for Beyond Surface, a gravity-defying paper structure, a collaboration between ODE and Web Structures, part of Ramboll. Dr Kody holds a doctorate degree in performance-oriented architecture with a focus in structural engineering and mathematical biology to create deeper relationships between people, materials, and the environment.

What can ancient engineering concepts teach us about sustainability?

The Chinese of the Song Dynasty and Japanese in the 12th century used the techniques of reciprocal frames to build bridges and public structures.

Leonardo da Vinci explored this concept in 1478 in a series of sketches for roofs and domes using a system of short pieces of timber.

“In pre-industrial times, we harvested material from nature to build, such as trees, bamboo, and stones. Unlike manufactured products like steel and concrete, nature dictates and limits the sizes and lengths of naturally grown resources,” said Ng Pek Har, Director of Web Structures in Malaysia, part of Ramboll.

“This concept called Reciprocal Frame, enables large span structures to be built using many short lengths, with very simple joints. Today, with the use of advanced parametric computational analysis, we can apply this concept to complex 3-D design and it is not material-specific,” Ir Ng explained. 

Quoting the Pritzker Prize laureate, Shigeru Ban, the architect best known for his work with paper, such as the Center Pompidou-Metz in France, “Paper is made from trees. Humans create architecture out of trees, so it must be possible to create architecture out of paper”. 

How To Enter The Paper Power Project challenge

Interested participants can request for the challenge brief by emailing [email protected] and sign up to enter by 31 January 2023.

The Paper Power Project entries shall be evaluated based on four merits: i) structural integrity, ii) architectural aesthetics, iii) load bearing capacity and iii) creativity and innovation. 

The shortlisted teams will be invited to construct their paper structure for public display at Tropicana Gardens Mall, Petaling Jaya in March/April 2023.

The winner of The Paper Power Project will have the unique opportunity to undergo a one-month paid internship with the company’s structural division in Malaysia.

Ramboll acquired Web Structures, a leading building design and engineering consultancy known for its cutting-edge, creative and ‘fusion engineering’ design in 2020 adding over 100 experts into Ramboll’s operations in Asia Pacific and its global Buildings team. The enhanced Ramboll Buildings team champions design excellence on a global scale by applying innovative concepts to challenging building issues aligned with a holistic design philosophy that inherently reduces the carbon footprint of buildings to truly impact change to the built industry.

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